Hiking in Woolen Bloomers? Not Today, Thanks

In 1890, Fay Fuller became the first woman to summit Mt. Rainier. To protect herself from the elements, she wore heavy woolen bloomers under her ankle-length dress. This risqué combination was considered quite immodest, but it served her well.

Fay Fuller, 1890

Fay Fuller wearing her "immodest" mountain-climbing apparel in 1890. Courtesy Mount Rainier National Park Archives.

Later, in the early 1900s when backpacking was just starting to gain popularity, men would don their wool knickers, button-front shirts and ties before they ventured out on the trail. Gore-Tex was the stuff of fairy tales and no one had a media pocket with an earbud port. Zippers were rare, waterproof zippers were unheard of. It was the golden age of outdoor recreation, and adventurers were enjoying the cutting edge of active clothing.

Hikers on Grouse Mountain in the early 1900s

Hiking in the latest active apparel, early 1900s. Courtesy City of Vancouver Archives (Credit: Franklin Walter Hewton).

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then. Over the years, the heavy, full-coverage garments favored by early adventurers have evolved into the lightweight technical clothes of today. Now if you’re spending time tying your tie or pulling on woolen bloomers before you set off on a hike, you’ve no one to blame but yourself.

At L.L.Bean, we know from experience what it takes to stay comfortable when you’re active. We’ve tested the products, evaluated the features and chosen a selection of the best men’s and women’s outdoor clothing for any adventure.

Men's and Women's Active Apparel

The perfect base layer for a cool-weather hike? We have it. A waterproof shell to protect you from an afternoon squall? We have it. We even have the perfect clothes to keep you comfortable as you sit around the campfire and swap stories after a day on the trail. Everything you need, you can find it here. And, of course, it’s all covered by our legendary guarantee.

So, don’t sacrifice your best dress shirt, or spend one more dime dry-cleaning your knickers. Just call us or chat with us online. We have a team of expert reps—all enthusiasts with years of experience in the outdoors—and they’re ready to help you find just the right clothes for your outdoor adventures.

When you’re gearing up for a hike, what’s the one item of clothing you can’t live without?

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